Help Scout | How To Use Beacon For Live Chat On Your Website

In this Help Scout video tutorial we're going to show you how to use the Help Scout Beacon for Live Chat on your website.

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In this Help Scout video tutorial we’re going to show you how to use the Help Scout Beacon for Live Chat on your website. We’ll show you how to set your availability, what it looks like when a website visitor starts a Live Chat, what it looks like during the chat with your website visitor, and what happens after the chat has ended.

The Help Scout Beacon creates an icon in the corner of your site.

When your website visitor clicks on that, they’ll be able to have a live chat or real time conversation with you through that Beacon.

If you don’t already have your free Help Scout account created, please use our referral link digital success dot link forward slash Help Scout, you will receive a free trial of Help Scout no credit card required, and a $50 discount on your plan.


Let’s get ready to have a Live Chat!

Click HERE to log into your Help Scout account.


The first thing that we need to do is look at our “Maximum Chats” setting inside of our Profile Settings.

At the top right, click on your Profile icon. Then click on “Your Profile”.

In the Maximum Chats section you can see the number of chats that can be handled at once.

We have set the number at “3”.

This means that after 3 three chats the system will automatically change our status to “assign only”.

You can set this number at anything that you want, just make sure that you don’t have too many live chats going at any one time.


The next thing we need to do is make sure that Live Chat is enabled in our Beacon settings.

  1. Click on “Manage” in the top navigation bar, then click on “Beacons”.
    Here you can see that we already have a beacon created.
    If you don’t have a beacon created yet, you can check out our other Post on showing how to create a HelpScout Beacon.
  2. Click on the Beacon to open the Beacon settings.
  3. On the left click on “Contact”.
  4. You will now be able to switch Live Chat on or off.
    If Live Chat is off, click the toggle switch to turn it on.
  5. Next, scroll down the page a little bit to the “Chat Settings” section.

There are two items that we need to make sure are switched on in “Chat Settings”:

  1. Email Transcript:
    Having this setting on means that the website visitor will receive a summary of your chat sent to their email address.
  2. Require Email:
    When this setting is on it will require that the website visitor submit their email address before proceeding with the live chat.

Go the end of the page and click “Save”.


As soon as Live Chat is switched on in our Beacon settings, the option to manage our chat “Availability” will become possible.

To manage availability, click on your Profile icon (top right of the page).

You will now see your chat availability is set to “Unavailable”.

This means that you cannot accept any chats from your website.

It also means that when our website visitor clicks on the Beacon from our website, all that they will see is the support form to send us a message. They will not be able to start a Live Chat.

To set your availability as “Available”, click on your Profile icon and then click on “Available”.

You will now see a “green dot” beneath your Profile icon. This lets you know that you are online and ready to receive Live Chats.

Remember, we can only accept up to 3 Live Chats, which is based on our Maximum Chats number inside our Profile Settings.


Now that we are “Available” to receive a Live Chat, a new section in our Mailbox called “Chats” will appear.

Click on “Mailbox” from the top navigation bar.

You will now see the new section called “Chats”.

Click on “Chats” and you will see all of your Live Chats show up.

If you don’t have any Live Chats in progress, this area will be empty.


Let’s take a look at how the process of having a Live Chat works. 


When you are “Available”, and your website visitor clicks on the Beacon from your site, they will see the “Chat” option.

As soon as they click on the “Chat” option, the “Help Bot” will greet them and ask them to put their question into the chat area.

The website visitor can type in their question, and then press the Enter key to send the message.

As soon as they submit their message, the “Help Bot” will ask them for their email address. The email address is being requested because we have our “Require Email” setting switched on inside our Beacon Settings.

When the website visitor submits their email address, “Help Bot” will thank them and let them know that someone from the team will be on the chat soon.

Now you will see the Chat show up inside of Help Scout.


Inside of Help Scout the new chat will show up in the “Chats” section of our Mailbox.

Click on the chat from the list to enter the chat.

When you enter the chat, you will see the message from your website visitor waiting for you.

We don’t have to click the “Accept Chat” button right away.

Type in your reply and use the “Enter” key to send the message, and at the same time it will automatically accept the chat and enter us into the conversation.

One thing to note is that we will be using our Profile Image during the chat. Whatever image you have uploaded in your Profile Settings is what image will be used during the chat.


The live chat will continue between us and our website visitor.

Our response to them will show up inside the Beacon on our website, and their response to us will show up in the Chats section of Help Scout.

After the website visitor has received an answer to their question, they can go ahead and “End” the conversation.

To end the chat they go up to the top of the chat box and click on the “End Chat” button.

As soon as they do that, they will receive a message letting them know that a copy of the conversation will be sent to their Email inbox.

They will receive a copy of the conversation because the Beacon Setting “Email Transcript” is switched on.

Inside of Help Scout we will receive a message that the customer has left the chat. This is so that we’re not waiting on the website visitor to send us another message.

Now we can click the “End Chat” button to close out of the chat.

A ppop-up box will appear where we can put in our custom summary of the chat. Then click the next “End Chat” button from the pop-up.


What happens after a Live Chat is over? Let’s take a look at some of the things that can happen after the Live Chat!


Now that our chat is over, where can we find the chats that are finished?

Inside our Mailbox is a section called “Closed”.

All of our closed support tickets and chats can be found in this section.

Click on “Closed” and you will see the live chat that we just had.

Click on the chat and it will open the “Chat Summary”.

The content in “grey” is what your website visitor will see in their summery (delivered to their email address).

You will also receive this summery information to your admin email address.


When you don’t want to accept any more chats, you will need to change your chat availability back to “Unavailable”.

Up at the top right click on your Profile icon, and then click on “Unavailable”.

Now you will see the green dot beneath our Profile icon has changed to a red dot, means you are unavailable to chat.


Even though the chat is over, the website visitor can still access the previous chat from the Beacon on the website.

When the website visitor clicks on the Beacon from our site, they will see the option to email us.

They will also see a link called “Previous Conversations”.

If they click on the “Previous Conversations” link, they will see their “chat history”, and on that history will be the chat they had with us.

Clicking on that chat will open up the chatbox, with our conversation history.

Here they will have the ability to continue the conversation by clicking on the “Add a Reply” button.

After they type in their reply, they will click the “Send Message” button and it will get added to the conversation.

Remember, we are “Unavailable” and not accepting any chats. So when they send the reply, we will receive the reply in the “Unassigned” section of our Mailbox (not in the “Chats” section).


You will receive the new message from your website visitor in the “Unassigned” section of your Mailbox.

Click on the message inside the “Unassigned” section to open it.

Click on the “Reply” button inside the message response screen, type in your reply message, then click the “Send Reply” button.

You will get a notification saying that email was sent.

Click on the notification to view the message so we can mark the message as closed.

Inside the message, click on the “flag” icon, the select “Closed” from the drop down options.

You will see the status updated notification.

Back on your website, if the website visitor clicks on the Beacon again, they will see that there is one new message waiting in their “Previous Conversations”.

When they click on the “Previous Conversations” link, and look in the chat history section, they will see the new message from us.

They will also receive the message in their email Inbox.


This is how Live Chat works from your website. You can see that having the ability to speak with your website visitors in real time can be a powerful way to provide support.

When you want to provide Live Chat support for your customers, sign up for Help Scout for free, plus get a $50 discount when you use our link.